Pakistan's top military brass, Bangladesh express condolences over 'tragic death' of Gen Rawat, others

Nilgiirs/Delhi: As many as 13 of the 14 occupants of the Indian Air Force helicopter, which had Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat among others onboard, died in the tragic crash on Wednesday, a top district official said.

There was one survivor, a male, Nilgiris Collector SP Amrith told PTI.

“Thirteen of the 14 (occupants) have died. There is one male survivor,” he said without divulging details.

Sources said 13 of the 14 personnel involved in the military chopper crash in Tamil Nadu have been confirmed dead and the identities of the bodies will be confirmed through DNA testing.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister-led Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) is scheduled to meet at 6:30 pm to discuss the situation arising out of the crash of a military helicopter with Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat and several other officers on board on Wednesday near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu.

The meeting will be attended by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Home Minister Amit Shah among others.

Sources said Singh has already briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the crash and the Indian Air Force chief has been asked to reach the site.

The CCS will meet at 6:30 pm, the sources said.

Earlier on Wednesday, an IAF helicopter with Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat on board met with an accident near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu reportedly due to low visibility due to foggy conditions.

However, there was no immediate information on the condition of Gen Rawat, even as the IAF said a Court of Inquiry has been ordered into the accident, involving a Mi-17VH chopper that took from the Sulur IAF Station in nearby Coimbatore.

Official sources in Delhi said all the injured people on board the helicopter have been evacuated from the spot of the accident.

The Chief of Defence Staff was on his way to the Defence Staff College in Wellington.

Meanwhile, official sources in Coimbatore said 12 bodies have been retrieved and two persons rescued from under the debris of the helicopter which crashed in Katteri-Nanchappanchathram area near Coonoor in the hilly Nilgiris district.

The helicopter, carrying a few senior officials, was on its way from Sulur in Coimbatore to DSC in Wellington where Rawat, along with Chief of Army Staff MM Naravane, was slated to participate in an event later.

The chopper crashed in a forest area, reportedly due to poor visibility following heavy fog, official sources said.

TV visuals showed the chopper in flames, apparently under the impact of the crash.

Rescue personnel, along with Army personnel, were seen involved in clearing the area.

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